The Jan 2015 victory of the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece creates a tailwind for like-minded Podemos ahead of Spain's municipal and regional elections and a powerful headwind for the governing center-right People's Party.
Spain's improving economy has not cut into the popularity of the anti-austerity message, and Podemos was able to rally enough supporters to Madrid in January to fill a central square and side streets.
The first test for Podemos was the European parliamentary election in 2014, when it won five seats for Spain, considered a strong showing for a newcomer. The new party is reported to be aiming to adopt Syriza tactics in order to break into mainstream politics in Spain, and some polls show it pulling ahead of the incumbent Conservatives and the main opposition Socialists.
Leading figures within the party initially indicated that Podemos would not put forward candidates at the local and regional elections in May so as to concentrate on the general election six months later, but it is now expected to join the Ganemos (Let's win) coalition, with the Communist-dominated United Left and Equo, which groups several green parties. At the regional level, Podemos is expected to fight the elections alone.
The Bank of Spain forecast of more growth for the Spanish economy and some 2 per cent expansion for 2015 following 1.4 per cent expansion in 2014.
The vote takes place in 8,112 municipalities and 13 of 17 regional bodies. Four -- Andalusia, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country -- have separate electoral cycles.
Date written/update: 2015-02-03